Yin Wen studied at the academy of Jixia 稷下 in the state of Qi 齊 and was a disciple of Gongsun Long 公孫龍, probably also his teacher. His philosophical thoughts were heavily influenced by Daoism, referring to the quietness of nature to which all beings have to return to, but also by the state philosophy of legalism, and Mozi's 墨子 idea of non-aggression. The imperial bibliography Yiwenzhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 speaks of only one chapter, while the received version has two chapters. During the Song period 宋 (960-1279), there was also a version in circulation with 19 chapters, consisting of additions by Buddhist believers. It must be assumed that the received version is not identical to the original, but contains a lot of material written at a later date, presumably the Northern Dynasties 北朝 (386~581) period.
The Yinwenzi is included in the series Miaomiaoge congshu 綿眇閣叢書， Bieliuzi quanshu 别六子全書， Zihui 子彙, Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺, Ershierzi 二十二子, Huhailou congshu 湖海樓叢書, and Wuzi 五子 (a print from the Jiajing era 嘉靖 1522-1566). The is a print from the Song period preserved by Master Zhang 昭文張氏, a Ming period print from the Taihe Studio 泰和堂, and the Siku quanshu 四庫全書 print.